The Gulf Coast Phenology Trail seeks to encourage people to engage in outdoor education, ask and answer local science management and climate change questions, and connect organizations together through a shared community monitoring project.
The Gulf Coast contains rich and varied ecosystems, from pine savanna to open marsh. The Refuges in this region are critical to preserving habitat and resources for resident and migratory wildlife.
Despite the importance of this area, we don't know much about the phenology of Southeast plants. The Gulf Coast Phenology Trail seeks to better understand the phenology of focal species in this region, and how these species respond to a changing climate. For example, with a better understanding of the timing of leafing of invasive Chinese tallow - which is also when the majority of its resources are in its leaves rather than in the ground - managers can determine the best time to treat an area with prescribed fire. We can also gain increased knowledge about unique species, such as pitcher plants and how the timing of their flowering relates to fires.